A North Texas contractor who bilked several Tarrant County homeowners, including many elderly people, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, will have 15 years to think about his crimes.
Randy Wayne Sprinkle, 54, pled guilty to theft of property in an amount greater than $300,000 and misapplication of fiduciary funds for remodeling projects involving more than a dozen victims over a span of the last 6 years. After a punishment hearing, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay $854,000 in restitution by 396th District Court Judge George Gallagher, the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Office said in a news release on Dec. 19.
Sprinkle admitted during punishment testimony that he had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly customers who contracted him to do remodeling projects he never finished, or abandoned in shambles. Some of the named victims were unable to testify against Sprinkle because they died prior to trial. In one instance, an elderly Tarrant County resident hired Sprinkle to make handicapped modifications to a downstairs room in her house for her ailing husband who was no longer able to climb the stairs to the second floor. The work was never completed, her husband passed, and the house remains in serious disrepair from Sprinkles shoddy work, according to the DA’s office.
Prosecutor Lori Varnell, chief of the Criminal District Attorney’s Elder Financial Fraud team compared Sprinkles actions to notorious convicted financier Bernie Madoff: “Mr. Sprinkle used a Ponzi business model, robbing Peter to pay Paul. Ponzi used stamps to commit his frauds, Bernie Madoff used the stock market, and Mr. Sprinkle used remodeling and construction as his scam.”
Varnell told the judge Sprinkle would continue to be a threat to homeowners and senior citizens in Tarrant County, saying “even after he was arrested and charged for this Ponzi scheme, he did it again. He never stopped.”
In addition to the 15-year prison term and restitution for the Theft conviction, Judge Gallagher sentenced Sprinkle to another 10-year prison term and 10 years’ probation for Misapplication of Fiduciary Funds.
When delivering the sentence, Gallagher put Sprinkle on notice he will be there to supervise him personally when he gets out of prison to ensure Sprinkle “does not perpetrate this kind of fraud on Tarrant County homeowners again.”